The Museum to honor Holocaust Survivors at sold-out annual gala
January 25, 2023 [St. Petersburg, FL] — The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) will hold its annual To Life benefit on February 4th, 2023. This event will launch their yearlong recognition of the 80th anniversary of the rescue of 7200 Jewish men, women, and children by the Danish people.
“To Life: Reflections of Courage” celebrates the Danish rescue of 1943. During World War II, Denmark was the only occupied country to resist the deportation of their Jewish citizens. In the fall of 1943, Nazi forces planned the deportation of Jews and a German diplomat leaked the news to Danish authorities. The Jewish community was warned that the coming arrests would take place on October 1st and 2nd and, with the help of their non-Jewish neighbors, the Jewish community went into hiding. Immediately following, the Resistance organized the rescue in which Danish fishermen would secretly smuggle the country’s Jews to neutral Sweden. Of the country’s 7,800 Jews, 7,200 were ferried to safety.
The FHM will present The 2023 Loebenberg Humanitarian Award to the people of Denmark and will be accepted by Ambassador Stig Piras, Deputy Chief of Mission. Ambassador Piras has an extensive career in both the Foreign Service and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark.
In 2003, the Loebenberg Humanitarian Award was established and named for Edie and Walter Loebenberg (of blessed memory), whose dream to establish The FHM became a reality through their vision and philanthropy, as well as the support and generosity of community leaders. Each year, the Award recognizes individuals/groups who have made outstanding contributions to The FHM, and their vision, foresight, and dedication have furthered the Museum’s mission.
The Museum will also present the 2023 Legacy Award to Steven and Irene Weiss.Steve, the son of a Holocaust liberator, and Irene, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, are longtime supporters and Life Members of The Florida Holocaust Museum. Through their leadership, the Museum’s Anne Frank Humanitarian Award (AFHA) program was founded in 2001, and since then, more than 1,700 high school juniors have been recognized as exemplary humanitarians. Moreover, Irene served as the program’s first chair. She has also served as Chair of the Museum’s Board of Directors and is an active member of the Board’s Advisory Committee. In 2021, Irene and Steve Weiss made a major gift to the Museum to fully fund its conversion from traditional electric to solar energy.
Because of their inspiration and support, the Museum’s electricity production to date has an equivalent benefit of planting almost 700 trees! Steve monitors this system on a regular basis. In 2022, they spearheaded the effort to acquire an authentic fishing boat that was used during the 1943 rescue of Danish Jews have helped underwrite the expenses with its transatlantic voyage to Florida. Irene and Steve have made a commitment to see the project to fruition with the eventual addition of the boat to the Museum’s permanent exhibition.
The FHM’s Legacy Award is given each year to honor a person(s) whose commitment to sharing the story of a Holocaust survivor empowers future generations to use the lessons of the past to create a better future. Because family and friends of survivors will soon be the ones responsible for ensuring these stories are told, their efforts are becoming more and more essential.
“All of us at The Florida Holocaust Museum are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we received for this year’s To Life event and our community’s ongoing support of our Mission. It is up to all of us to remember the survivors and victims of the Holocaust and to ensure that its lessons are taught to inspire generations of upstanders,” Erin Blankenship, Interim Executive Director, The Florida Holocaust Museum.
The FHM is grateful for our To Life Chairs:Margot Benstock, ChairJennifer Garbowicz, ChairRobin Warren, Program ChairRachael Worthington, Stewardship ChairToni Rinde, SponsorshipAndrea Silverman, SponsorshipDavid Meiers, MarketingAnita Treiser Bernstein, Marketing
Our Committee:Jason Alpert Erin Blankenship Stacy ConroyMichelle Gershon Bret HenriksonDana JustusMeredith LeonhirthDebra MarcusSandy Mermelstein Melissa Meshil Alyssa RhoadsRuth Ross Amanda Saft Cathy TysingerKaitlin Williams
And Our Visionary/Champion Sponsors:Sandy Mermelstein and Kent BontlyThe Sembler & Kamins FamiliesRothman Family FoundationRachael & Don Worthington
For a full list of supporters click here.
|Museum LocationThe Florida Holocaust Museum55 Fifth Street SouthSt. Petersburg, FL 33701Phone: (727) 820-0100www.TheFHM.org
|About The Florida Holocaust MuseumOne of the largest Holocaust Museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of men, women, and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.orgPhotos:
|Ambassador Stig Piras, Deputy Chief of Mission
|Steven and Irene Weiss